Saturday, November 2, 2013

 The Signs 

It is with great certainty that I say the end is near. We are indeed living in the final days of human history. It is an amazing time to be alive, an exciting time. Never before has man witnessed the awe-inspiring events happening in the modern world. Yet, there is a much to be desired. Available to us is all the technology, entertainment, pleasures and material things that one could wish for. Even with that being the case, why does there seem to be a general air of discontent, strife, or unhappiness? It is because much darkness abounds in these last days.

Jesus was very precise when speaking of the signs that would signal His return. We not only have the words of Jesus, but many signs to validate what is true. After all anyone can say anything right? Without evidence few are sure to believe. What's worse is that some wouldn't believe even if the evidence fell into their laps. The time for procrastination is over. Things are so serious at this point that Jesus' return is immanent. We not only need to ready ourselves but also spread the truth to others before it is too late. It is time right now. Let's take a look at some solid proof that we are in the last days and on the cusp of Christ's return.

Matthew 24:6-7 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

That one scripture is packed with a ton of verifiable events happening right now in our world. I will present some basic facts for you representing current world events. You can do more in depth research if you chose. The information is all readily available from a wide range of sources.

Nation Against Nation
Since the bloody Egyptian revolution began in 2011 between 3,000-8,000 have died. This figure continues to climb. The exact figure of prisoners/detainees in not known.
Since the bloody civil war in Syria began in early 2011 the death toll is between 115,000-125,000. The toll continues to rise.
The United States has been exposed for worldwide spying on allies and enemies alike. This has only further incited tensions between the U.S. and China. In retaliation China recently moved a warship into U.S. waters in Hawaii. 
Sudan has been in state of civil war since 1983 and millions have died. Millions have also been displaced. However, just to illustrate that this is another current are some numbers. In Darfur, since the year 2003, roughly 50,000-80,000 have been killed in "ethnic cleansing (aka genocide) and between 1-2 million displaced.
The conflict in Turkey, perpetuated by it's PPK (Kurdistan Worker's Party) has left as many as 870 dead since 2011.
American troops are set to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014. The government there is in no condition to resume responsibility for its own security, as it is still plagued with corruption and factionalism. Though it is not for America to decide their fate, we are sure to hear more about this conflict in the coming days.

Since 2004 the tensions between the United States in Pakistan has boiled over. There have been as many as 339 drone attacks where over 400 civilians have died. 
I could go on and on with the Nation against Nation point but I have no desire. I'm getting disturbed just thinking about it. Besides, I am sure you can see that there is no shortage of conflicts in today's world just as Jesus said there would be before His return.

Roughly 800 million people suffer from malnutrition and hunger each year. A whopping 1.5 million children die each year from starvation (20,864 each day). That breaks my heart. The news would rather keep you distracted with celebrity garbage than to report on things like this! I just read an article 2 days ago about the poor in Haiti and how they eat mud cookies each day to stay alive. They literally mix oil with the mud and bake it into a "cookie." This is while billionaire aristocrats could easily write 1 check and resolve all of the world hunger!
In the year 2012 there were an astonishing 16,667 earthquakes worldwide which resulted in 768 deaths. In that same year there were 3836 in the United States alone!

Matthew 24:9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.

Christians Persecuted
It is no secret that the world has launched an all out war on Christians and just about anything that has to do with God or Jesus! How many of you can remember a few years back when they banned stores from saying "Merry Christmas" and forced them to resort to saying "Happy Holidays?" How many can remember when prayer was taken out of schools? Now the sacred and holy institution of marriage has succumbed to the filth of the world. The world has perverted yet another of God's special covenants in order to twist and poison the truth! Oh, and I dare a Christian to proclaim that gay marriage is ungodly! You'll be crucified so quick you won't even know what happened. In fact, it is becoming more and more unacceptable for Christians to take a stand against anything that is indecent/contrary to God's word. I recently read an article where the united states army was specifically told to target Christians as a hate group and threat to national security. Now Christians are actually being labeled as terrorists! At every turn we are unwelcome, hated and killed. Jesus declared that it would be this way in the days near His return.

Matthew 24:11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
No love
Jesus pretty much summed up the whole of our modern existence with that ONE verse. It is so plainly evident that people just don't care for one another. Hearts have waxed cold and there is no love. When you can look on YouTube and see videos of a person getting hit by a vehicle, and people simply walk by the person laying there without so much as even a know we are very close to the end. What happened to the you lean on me and I lean on you thing? Those days are long gone. The government has intentionally cut off much needed supplies to families (food shortages) inciting increased fears of riots/martial law in the near future. What kind of wicked government, which has built it's empire off the blood and sweat of the people, would then turn around and destroy those same people? You got it! Yours truly, the United States government. They (FEMA) already have millions of black coffins at a site in Georgia for some upcoming disaster event. What are we not being told? Why is the department of homeland security buying billions of rounds of hollow-point ammunition? Why is the military making preparations to seize the weapons of civilians and detain the American people? 
 Every time you turn around you see stories about parents killing their children through all kinds of evil torture, and children committing unspeakable, murderous acts against their own parents. Kids are hardly able to go to school without fear of an armed maniac coming in to shoot them. Crime seems to be rising at an alarming rate according to statistics and it just seems that people are struggling more and more with making good choices. Television has become completely filled with corruption and darkness. Everything is demonic, satanic or degrading. There are no more morals. Remember you could almost never see nudity or hear cursing on TV shows? Not anymore. They don't even bother to block it out or sensor. Never before in history has evil run so rampant as today. The lack of love and constant betrayal of people by one another is testament to the fact that we are in the final days. 

The end is at hand brothers and sisters. Time is so short. Pretty soon finding work, having money, entertainment, pointless celebrity gossip and technology will be the last thing on people's minds. Soon the only thing people will care about is their own survival! When the riots begin, we will have no choice but to trust in the Lord. Please pray for me during these perilous times and I will cover you in prayer as well. 

Matthew 24:36-44 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had know what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."

As Always, Truth is Freedom, Knowledge is Power!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Will my life get better?

When things are not going as we want them to, this is a question we can't help but ponder. Will things ever get better? Is there any hope? As humans, self preservation is one of our most basic instincts, especially in a time of turmoil. I believe it is safe to say that the days in which we live are overwhelmingly complex. There are scores of unwarranted shootings and killings, confusion over what would seem to be basic common sense moral issues, turbulent financial markets and joblessness, global and civil unrest, and disaster at every turn. People are in a place of desperation and it is easy to see why. My friend, I am only human and must confess that I too share these feelings of uneasiness. However, I need only turn to the word of the living God for hope and answers.

So again I ask, will my life get better? Have you ever wondered when God will show up? So have I! The answer is; right on time. His timing is perfect, and rarely does his timing align with ours. Let us take a look at what God's word says about hope, safety and deliverance. 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. -Psalm 46:1 (Nkjv)

We can be assured that in times of trouble that God is absolutely with us, strengthening us and providing a safe place for us, even in the midst of certain danger. When my heart is overwhelmed and I know I am in over my head, I turn to the Lord in prayer. Those who are burdened and weary can find rest in the Lord. We may feel alone at times, stranded in middle of a mess with no way out. Still, we are never alone because God is always with us. We don't have to be afraid. 

The LORD said, "Fear not, for I am with you ; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous hand." -Isaiah 41:10

The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. -Psalm 34:7

As for me, I will call upon God, and the LORD shall save me. -Psalm 55:16

God is loving and merciful, but He is also just. If anything stands between you and the Lord, first repent and ask to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus, that nothing would hinder your cries from being heard. God will forgive us if we repent and ask forgiveness. In the same light, we should forgive those who wrong us and not harbor bitterness in our hearts. We would not want God to hold a grudge against us for our wrongs. When you have settled those things that stand in between you and the Lord, pray earnestly for relief from your troubles. He will deliver you, though I say again that it will be in His own timing. 

And not only in that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance  and perseverance character; and character, hope. -Romans 5:3-4

It is tempting to give up when we don't get our answer from God right away. Sometimes we may feel that He has forgotten us, or that He hasn't listened to our prayers. He has heard our cries and in time His mighty hand will move on our behalf. God may allow us to go through seasons of challenge to strengthen our faith, build our patience, and develop our testimony so that when we are delivered we can provide hope to those going through the same thing. 

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. -Isaiah 40:31

My friend, I am not here to tell you  that everything will be lovely all the time. I wish I could promise that we would never face tribulations, trials or pain. I would love to tell you that we will always get our answers immediately, that we will never have to be patient, or that answers will always be what we want them to be. If I told you those things, I would surely be lying to you. Our walk of faith as Christians, servants of the Lord, followers and disciples of Jesus is not for the faint of heart. We are not promised easy lives. On the contrary we will definitely face attacks, dangers, persecutions, heartbreak and ridicule. Thankfully, our God will never leave us nor forsake us!

Our God is greater than the greatest mountains and obstacles we face. He is greater than our worst enemy and His wisdom far exceeds that of the people who try to belittle us. With God on our side who can stand against us? No one! So, I don't promise that this road will be easy, but if we endure...our rewards will be unimaginably great. We shall have victory in Christ!

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. -John 16:33

As always, Truth is Freedom, Knowledge is Power!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Who is Jesus?


When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” Matthew 16:13

Jesus asked this question for a very important reason. Jesus was not uncertain of His identity or His purpose. In fact Jesus was before anything else came to be. He wanted to make certain that those following Him knew His true identity. Many rumors were rampant during the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, and much confusion was the result.
Mark 13: 5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,” and will deceive many.

Make no mistake; Jesus wants you to know Him. He doesn't want you confused about who He is, and why a relationship with Him is critical.  In response to Jesus’ question;

Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16

Assurance of who Jesus is does not come as a result of scholarly readings or theology classes at an accredited university. In order to know Jesus, there has to be a personal relationship. There must be a connection that transcends head knowledge and dives into
the heart.
Matthew 15:8 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
 I would pose the question; how can we get to know anyone without investing time with them on a consistent, personal basis? Don’t allow anyone else to define Jesus for you. Don’t allow the television or Sunday service to define Jesus for you. Get to know Him for yourself. Dive into the word of God and pray.

Many know Jesus as their savior, but few know Him as Lord. A great emphasis has been placed on Jesus as savior. This is understandable in relation to human nature, as it is a natural desire to want to be rescued. It is completely human to want to feel secure and safe. However, Jesus makes it very clear that in order to follow Him, one must totally surrender their life. This means that salvation alone is not the point. It is a selfish standpoint that proclaims, “Rescue me, save me, but I don’t have to give anything in return!” 
Looking at things in that manner makes it about us, when it should be about Christ. Living a life totally surrendered in Christ is not about what you can get from Him, but rather what you’re willing to give for Him.
Matthew 16:24 “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Matthew 19:20-21 The young man said to him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

This is where many of us miss the point. Salvation is easy, comfortable, and requires little. A life of surrender is difficult, demanding, full of persecution, and trials all for His glory. It is easy to see why most would rather have Jesus as savior, and not as Lord.

Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Lordship implies ownership and complete rule. This is not what you will hear at your typical Sunday morning service. It is not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear.
You are probably shocked and maybe a bit confused because this is not what you have been taught. When we really dive into the word of God for ourselves instead of sitting down and hearing someone else share with us their idea of the bible, we can really have a shot at the powerful and trans-formative truth that is God’s word.
Have you ever wondered why the world is so harsh towards Christians? Have you ever heard some one saying, “well so and so said they are a Christian, but they do things that a Christian shouldn't do.” This is because it so much easier to hear the word than to actually do. Jesus warned us about that. Likely, these are people who have “accepted” Christ as their Savior but have never made Him their Lord.Perhaps they were not actually saved but thought that they were. Maybe this is why some Christians are seen as hypocrites and not to be trusted. Much of our plight as Christians is due to bad teaching, though we are responsible for the good or bad decisions we make. It reflects back on our Lord because until He returns, the world sees Jesus through His followers on earth. If we represent Him in a way that is false, then we cant expect the world to take Christianity seriously. Instead, if we live out and do the word daily, Christ will be so visible that the world will not even see us. Salvation is also not about acceptance, but rather a declaration as shown in Romans 10:9. So they are not living a life of surrender at all. Salvation should be the beginning, not the end; the result, not the goal.

Look into your own heart and ask yourself do you really know who Jesus is? Is he simply a great moral character from fable, some man who did good deeds long ago, a savior who helped you avoid a fiery hell, or is He alive, present and active in your life each day as your Lord? Jesus may have died, but He rose again and is alive today! We serve the living God!

As Always, Truth is Freedom, Knowledge is Power!

Friday, November 16, 2012


It has been a long while since I have ventured to write though there has been no shortage of topics to discuss. More than any other subject, the Lord has placed on my heart to speak about the power of prayer.
Prayer is very powerful. Prayer is life-changing and most of all prayer is real. If  you don't pray hopefully you will learn how after reading this. If you already pray, I hope that this will strengthen your desire to grow in your walk with the Lord through prayer. You will also understand how prayer can change your life for the better and strengthen your bond with God.

What is prayer? Prayer is simply the act of communicating with God. It really is that simple. You can pray anytime, anywhere, about anything. Prayer exposes our inner heart. Prayer is all about what is hidden beneath the surface. You may have something bothering you to the point you feel that it is eating away at you. When others ask how you are doing you make no mention of what is truly troubling you. Then you find your quiet place and let it all out before God. Though you can pray anywhere, it is best if you can find a private, quite place to pour out your heart to the Lord.
When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6
 Prayer reveals to God the things that are hidden from others. It also may reveal to you things about yourself that you didn't know.
"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know," says the Lord. Jeremiah 33:3
Why should you pray? Ultimately there are many reasons to pray, and people pray for all different reasons. Sometimes we pray because we have a need or have family in need. Still, we may pray when we are heavily burdened by many troubles. Other times we pray because we are afraid, worried, or alone. I pray for all of these reasons, but the main reason I pray is to build my relationship with Christ. I desire to grow closer to Him each day.
God's word shares insight on prayer during a time of trouble.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. Psalm 91:15
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:13-16
  Prayer is the answer to the stresses that have burdened you. Matthew chapter 6 outlines the model prayer. It is not only a great example of how to pray, but also a prayer that even seasoned Christians pray. Jesus used the model prayer as an example of how to pray. He also prayed to the Father very often. When you pray and receive the answer to your prayers it will build your faith tremendously. I could tell you many testimonies about how prayer changed my life, but I would need weeks on end for them all. God the father takes pleasure in hearing and answering your prayers. Remember to always pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ. We need the covering of our fellow saints. As always, Truth is Freedom, knowledge is power!

Monday, May 14, 2012

True or False

1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He replied, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' 3 and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away. Matthew 16:1-5

As I sat and viewed a powerful testimony about Christians living in the final days, a shocking revelation was revealed to me. During that revelation, I came to understand how selfish I have been throughout my life, and even during my Christian walk. God broke down the wall of pride that I had constructed over the years, and pulled down the veil of blindness that covered my eyes. God exposed me for what I was, a broken down individual hoping to get by with just enough to edge my way into heaven. Wrong! There is no way to sneak into heaven. There is no way to half-way serve God. When you live for Christ it is all or nothing.
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. Matthew 16:24

My Lord began to reveal to me that If I did not live my life as he commanded that none of my works would mean anything. The works I had done would be worthless and my life a waste on the day of judgement. This scared me greatly. God showed me that though my intentions have been good, my motives were not pure. Immediately, I fell on my face to repent to God for my actions. I repented for everything I had done that was outside the will of God, but most importantly I repented for hurting my heavenly Father. I repented for selfishly asking God to take me from this life so that I might be with Him, when I still had much work to do and lives to impact. After the rebuke of the Holy Spirit, the shame left me and Jesus reassured me that through Him all things were possible. I prayed that He would give me the ability to overcome my shortcomings, live righteously, and that my life would not be in vain. 
God reminded me that we are beings of free will and that He could not force anything upon us. Though I had disappointed the Lord greatly and He had strongly chastised me, He again reminded me that It was not too late to do what was right.  He expects me to do right.
For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child. Hebrews 12:6

God reminded me that I did not realize just how much I was caught up in this life, though I was certain that I had given up on this world. He showed me that I still had a great desire for material things, a yearning to fulfill my own purposes and agendas, and lived a double life. This was deeply unsettling to my spirit and very frightening. Still, I am glad that God has dealt with me on this matter while I am still in this life, rather than casting me into hell. He made it clear to me that all those who claimed to be Christians would not enter into his Kingdom.
 Enter through the narrow gate, For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:7-8
 I was also afraid that I too would not enter into God's kingdom if I did not change.
We serve and worship the Lord with our actions, not with our words. Real worship comes from within your heart Anyone can profess anything but that does not make it true. It does not mean that person truly stands behind the assertion either. On multiple occasions Jesus reinforces the importance of being doers of the word and not hearers only. Ultimately, this is the only true way to discern real Christians from the false ones. 
Those who actually do God's word and obey his laws are the only ones who will inherit his kingdom. Do not be fooled by Satan and his new age philosophy of "live how ever you want because you are god." Your enemy wants you to believe that you do not have to be held accountable for your lifestyle because you have said a prayer of salvation since Jesus died for you. Wrong again! God clearly warns us that to continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the gospel is refute the powerful purpose of salvation. Sadly this is the false doctrine that has been spread through many of today's churches. It is a doctrine that has created a false sense of security and stirred up the wrath of God who shall return with a vengeance. We as followers of God are completely accountable for our lives, and even more so than non-believers because we have been made aware. We are comfortable living in any manner and thinking that this is OK with God.
We must all examine ourselves to be certain that we are living as true followers of Christ. Could you imagine the horror of standing before God as He says, "depart from me I never knew you!" 
Many will say to Me on
that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in
Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME,
It would have to be the most horrible thing imaginable. As believers we should rest assured in our salvation, though that does not mean becoming Luke-warm as stated in the book of Revelations. If you know that you have been living half way as a Christian, there is still time to make things right with God. First, examine yourself and your motives pertaining to your walk. Then go before the throne of God humbly and repent if you have lived a life that would dishonor God. He is just to forgive you if you are sincere. When you repent God will wipe the slate clean and you can start over, but you have to live as a true Christian to the best of your ability each day. 
 Christianity is not a lifestyle, it is actually a state of being. The holy spirit lives with you and you should always reflect Christ. A lifestyle can change and be altered but a state of being is constant. Just as you are "alive" right now, that is a state of being. As a Christian you should be a living, breathing, reflection of Christ, meaning that you do not turn this off and on at will. If you act one way around certain people, and totally different around others, then you have not fully made Christianity your state of being. We have all been guilty of this at some point or another. The point is to move beyond that old false way of living. When we stand before God we want to be able to approach His throne without spot or blemish. Most reading this message have accepted the gift of salvation, but have not learned to exist as a true Christian should. The good news is that God intended this message for you. You still have the time to make things right and become a doer of God's word and not just remain as a hearer. 
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does. James 1:22-25
Take up your cross daily and walk with Jesus. One thing that may help is to ask yourself, if Jesus was right here in the room with me, would I do this certain action? If the answer is no, then turn away from whatever that behavior is that is causing you to sin. Live your life as if Jesus is physically right beside you every where you go. He lives within us, but sometimes we find it easier to allow ourselves to make poor decisions because we do not physically see Him all the time. Just like you would not do certain things if a police officer were with you, who could arrest you and take away your freedom, you should also honor the Lord and live righteously. The best way to honor God is to obey His word because it shows that you truly love and follow Him. 
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is lie it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matthew 22:37-40
I don't know about you but I want to enter God's kingdom and dwell with Him for eternity. I surely do not want Him to turn me away on that day stating that He never knew me. I do not want Him to disapprove of my works either! That would be terrible. It is a bad feeling to let God down after He has done so much for me. Be sure you are living truly as a Christian, and not a Luke-warm one.
"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write : The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this : 15 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot ; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. Revelation 3:14-17
 I am making a commitment to God to do just that. Saints, let us lift up one another in prayer that we may be able to stand in the day of judgement and be accepted into God's kingdom. Will your works be found out as true or false?
 As always, Truth is Freedom, Knowledge is Power!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Stand Your Ground

As a Christian in modern society, you face a daunting number of obstacles, distractions, and opposition like never before. It is imperative that you, "stand your ground." The enemy wants nothing more than to get you to compromise and become slack concerning your walk with Christ. Think about that for a moment. The easiest way for your enemy (the devil) to attack you is to catch you when your guard is down. When your guard is down, you are exposed, weak, and vulnerable. My friend, I encourage you to stand your ground always and resist the urge to compromise.

How does the enemy get us to compromise?
He will exploit your weaknesses and place temptation in front of you so that you might open the door. Once the door is opened and sin enters in, it will be difficult to shake the stronghold. Again, I urge you to resist, and stand your ground! Temptation rarely comes in a broken-down, unappealing package. Instead it will come in the form of something beautiful, desirable, enticing. God tells us in His word that if we resist the devil he will flee from us.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
The world belongs to Satan, and has ever since Adam and Eve passed over their ruling dominion to him after sinning in the garden. The world also wants you to compromise in your walk with Christ. Resist the desire to fit in with others around you by placing your Christian values on the back burner. I understand that this is not always an easy thing to do. Remember that your approval and worth comes from God, not men. God will exalt you for your good works in due time, but the world would love nothing more than to see you living in sin. Any time you have to bend your values to fit in, something is definitely wrong. 
 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 2:4
 When adversities come your way and you want to give up, stand your ground. There is a blessing waiting for you. If you are facing a difficult challenge or crisis situation right now, you may have many thoughts about giving up. You may get discouraged and start to question your faith. Trust me, there was a point when I was there. Even though it was tough, I continued to stand my ground and God brought me victory through all of my trials. I am now more blessed as a result of going through my fiery trials because it strengthened my faith, increased my love for the Lord, and provided me with solid testimonies to share with others. If you compromise and give up when times get tough, how will you reach the place of maturity and advancement God is ultimately bringing you to? Many times our trials are a result of our own sin, but God uses these times to test our hearts and our faith. Stand your ground! 
 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 34:19 KJV

 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. James 1:12 KJV

Others may not understand when you stand your ground and remain faithful to God. It might mean that you're making a choice which will cause you to be unpopular, or abandoned by the "in crowd." Don't worry, because any friend that causes you to dishonor the Lord, your family, your church, or yourself, is not a true friend at all. These are not the kinds of friends you need. You need friends who will encourage you to do what is right, to stand strong in trials and tribulations, and pray with you when you feel like giving in to temptation.
 Do not be unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and lawlessness have in common? What fellowship has light with darkness?" 2 Corinthians 6:14
Remember to meditate on God's word and what is good. Avoid fellowship with those who will cause you to stumble for sake of fitting in. Also avoid conversations that tear down rather than build others up. Remember to resist temptation and your enemy will flee from you. Are there people or things in your life that are causing you to forsake your Christian values? You don't need them so get rid of them! Also remember that God rewards the faithful abundantly when they do not compromise to be like the world. You can do it, and the bible tells you so!
 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
As always, Truth is Freedom, Knowledge is Power!



Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Power of Influence

Have you ever considered the power of influence? Most of us probably do not consider the great degree to which we are influenced each day, and how different influences affect the many decisions we make. The Lord ushered my spirit to write about this topic since there is much possibility with influence. For those who have a television and watch it at least semi-regularly, you will notice that between "programs" there are commercial breaks. During this 3-5 minute break from your program, you are bombarded with advertisements. Some may be about food, others about clothing or shoes, and still others could be regarding cars, entertainment, or many other topics. The intent of these advertisements is to influence you to react, think, or feel a certain way regarding the information presented to you. If it is an advertisement for a product, you are being influenced to possibly make a buying decision.
How many times have you been hungry when a commercial flashed a delicious looking meal that sent your taste buds scrambling? It is very likely that you either purchased that meal which was shown, a very similar meal, or something different altogether. The point is, you were influenced to eat based on what was shown. The program you were watching on the television is called a "program" for a reason. It is intended to do just that; program. When you finish watching a program you may have a completely different perception of a topic, or you may react differently in certain situations based off of what you were shown. You may start to buy certain shoes or clothing and dress differently. You may start to shop at a store you never thought of shopping at before. You may even begin to take risks that you previously would have avoided. Someone or something influences nearly every decision you make each day, often without you realizing why you are doing things a certain way. It is called preconditioned thinking. Subliminally your mind is constantly absorbing information. The subconscious mind(without you being aware) receives and processes information, stores it and then uses it later when you are faced with decision making. This is why infomercials are very effective and so often used in sales and other areas when presenting information to people.
You may feel that I am spending a great deal of time introducing the topic of influence, and I am. I want you to be equipped with knowledge that can change your life for the better. The word of God says, "My people perish from a lack of knowledge," Hosea 4:6
What good does the Bible do for Christians if they never read it and apply God's living word to their lives? What good do you do for the kingdom of God if you don't use your influence? In the same sense, I want you to take the information I present to you and use it to change your life and impact the world around you positively. You may feel unimportant, and that no one cares about you or your actions. Wrong! Even when you feel unimportant there are always eyes watching what you do. To God you are very important. You are also very important to me. As a believer in Christ you are filled with power, but don't allow that power to go to waste! God wants you to use YOUR influence to change the lives of others. That is what this topic is truly about. Influence is a powerful tool that can be used for good or evil. Have you ever heard of a bad influence? Sure you have, they're all around. A bad influence does not force someone else to behave badly, but through persuasion they can cause others to do the wrong thing. That is why it is so important to surround yourself with those who intend to do good and want what is best for others. That doesn't mean you're going to have or find perfect friends or family because you won't. They are human after all. No one is perfect, but there are definitely people who have bad intentions, and there are those who are genuinely concerned with the good of others.
So you are wondering how you can impact the world for God. A good friend once shared a powerful quote with me. He said, "To the world you are just one person, but to one person you might mean the world." Even if you're a babe in Christ there are ways that you can immediately influence the world. One thing you can do is pray. Prayer is simply communication with God. It is a powerful and effective way of influencing your personal situation and occurrences going on in the world around you.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

"Therefore I say unto you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." Mark 11:24
they profited the most, with little regard for what happened to the average citizen?  A worldly leader is going to make decisions based on worldly influence, often with negative consequences. A Christian leader will make choices based on Godly principles. Those who control the money control just about everything else. As Christians we need to stand up and take back the world for God.
Take a look at the arts and entertainment industry, aka Hollywood. Look at all the demonic "programming" (aka brainwashing) that comes out of Hollywood. The industry is saturated with satanic messages, violent imagery, drug and alcohol abuse, idol worship, false gods, sexual immorality, and abundant amounts of witchcraft. These are the images, ideals, and messages constantly being absorbed by the masses (including children) on a regular basis. Now imagine if Christians took back the entertainment industry and decided it would no longer be the devil's play ground. Then it would be used for the Lord. There would be shows that uplifted, taught positive messages, and influenced lives through righteousness. Instead, due to lack of Christian influence we continue to get slammed with evil. I am not saying that all movies are bad and that every person is out to harm; I'm simply asking you to carefully consider how film is being used and whether its impact is positive or negative. Film, just like music, is a tool. It can be used to build and uplift, or to tear down and destroy. If there was more Christian influence over the music industry, imagine how what we listened to would change. Right now I am almost certain that God is disgusted by today's music industry and the filthy content being used to influence people. God loves music. He created music and has an amazing heavenly choir that would blow the minds of even the most acclaimed conductors. Still, do you think God is pleased with lyrics constantly boasting about drug use, killing, selfishness, sexual immorality, degrading of women, self righteousness, and other demonic messages that do great harm spiritually and mentally? Come on that's a big, obvious NO. The devil has plenty of helpers willing to use their influence in the world for evil purposes to lead others astray to hell.

Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Luke 4:5-6

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1Peter 5:8

Those who take Satan's offer (Jesus clearly refused) and bow down in worship of him in exchange for worldly wealth and possessions use their great influence to do evil. Don't be fooled by these people when they do a "good" deed occasionally, or donate something to charity. They tend to be evil with wicked hearts. You only see them when the camera is on them in the spotlight. Of course they are going to portray themselves in the best light. Satan himself wants to look as appealing and pleasant as possible so he can deceive people.
God is searching for those who are willing to step out in faith and use their influence to advance his kingdom, not the worldly kingdom of darkness. You don't have to have tons of money. You don't have to have a lot of free time to positively influence others for God. You simply need to make the best use of the time and resources you have. Politics is overrun with corruption and scandal because it is full of worldly leaders. If there were more Christian leaders, consider how the laws would be different. Imagine how the government would be used for the people instead of against the people. Think about how the nation would stand on the principles of God instead of giving heed to false doctrines, rituals and ideals. People would prosper instead of drown in debt. Everyone wants God to bless America, but how can He when our political leaders openly support abortion, abuse, homosexuality, slavery, murder, scandals, and numerous other forms of evil. If Christian leaders would step into these positions of power and wield their influence the impact would be great. Maybe the number of innocent babies aborted would be significantly reduced. Perhaps we would not be involved in frivolous wars, and drowning in debts with a deficit that seems to increase exponentially. Surely, there would be a much greater distribution of wealth where poverty was reduced or eliminated, and the control was not in the hands of a small few while the majority suffered. Isn't it possible that our corrupt justice system would actually offer people a fair chance if Godly leaders were in place? Instead, today's Christian leaders would rather sit watching on the sidelines while the worldly leaders continue to destroy not only this nation, but others throughout the world with dark, satanic influence.
 I could go on but there is no need. I know you understand why influence is so powerful and important. As a Christian you have the Holy Spirit, the very power of God flowing through you. You have access to the Almighty and therefore unlimited resources. You can change things for the better and make a difference. You ARE important! You are so important that God created you in His own image.
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27
God carefully crafted you.
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. Psalms 149: 13-14

You may not have an interest in politics, but you may have other talents that can be used to influence others for Christ. If you can sing, do it for God in a way that uplifts others, and spreads positive messages (while pleasing Him at the same time) instead of becoming like any number of other worldly artists who put out lyrical poison to make a quick buck. If you are interested in politics, run for office in your local government so that you can change things and help people who are being oppressed by the system. You might have a passion for arts and entertainment. You can put together productions that spread the message of Christ and impact people in a positive way. God has given each of gifts which can be used to influence others.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
We have different gifts according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying then prophecy according to your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy; do it cheerfully. Romans 12:6-8

We all have gifts or talents. The question is whether we will use them for God to do good, or for the world to do evil. I encourage you to use your influence to do good and change the world for the better. Many are suffering and hurting today. They are looking for someone to shine the light of Christ that they may know there is hope. They have enough evil and darkness around them, so imagine their relief when you come along shining your light, blessing them with hope. Many have gone down the wrong path and are lost. You may have just the right message that they need to hear in order to get their lives on track with Christ. Your gift may be just what someone needed to see or hear, in order to muster the strength to overcome a difficult challenge they're facing. You can stay where you are, content with doing little or nothing as those around you continue to suffer, or you can exercise your faith, use your great influence and start helping others in need.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
I encourage you to use the power of influence. You have great power. God needs warriors like you who can turn the tides in this great spiritual war being fought. Get up, get out there and make a difference. You will not only bless the lives of others and help make this world a better place, but also set yourself in a position to receive abundant blessings from God.
But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33
The blessings of the Lord makes one rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22

I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” Genesis 22:17-18

 How awesome is that? Its a situation where you CAN'T lose. You can only win with God on your side! Remember to use your influence for good. Also, be careful to make sure you are being influenced by what is good. You may not realize it but something or someone is always influencing you. You will be a representation of what you absorb, so fill your heart and mind with good things, especially the word of God so that you can be effective in your works!
As always, Truth is Freedom, Knowledge is Power

Monday, August 1, 2011

Complete In Christ ( Salvation part 2 )

During the first post about salvation we defined the meaning of it, the definite need for a savior, and how salvation changes lives. In salvation part 2 we will take a more in depth look into the rewards, changes, and responsibilities that occur once a person receives the gift of salvation. After all, the gift is free but there are instructions that come with it, just as there are with any new product you purchase at a store. In order to fully understand and use your gift, you need to read and comprehend the instructions right? Salvation is the most amazing gift that God has given us, yet no amount of money or charitable deeds could buy it. It is priceless.

Firstly, we must understand that without Jesus there is no salvation. There is no other way to God. Jesus confirms this in the book of John chapter 14.
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 
In verse 7 Jesus confirms again that one must know Him in order to know God. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him. John 14:7 
Clearly, the correlation between Jesus and the Father is confirmed several times throughout the book of John and in other books. One can't accept Christ without God, and God without Christ. That is the basis for understanding and receiving salvation. 

Once a person has made the decision to receive salvation and become "born again," the bible speaks of being baptized. This is a part of salvation that all believers should take part in. Baptism is a part of the "new birth," and that is what salvation is about. It is about being born again, dying to sin and the old way of life, and becoming a brand new creature in Christ. 
Jesus answered and said unto him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born again when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. John 3:3-5
 Due to confusion regarding natural birth, Jesus has to clarify to Nicodemus that he was referring to something spiritual. When you are baptized and go under the water, it is symbolic of Jesus' death. You are dying to your sins, and old way of life when you "go under." You are allowing God to cleanse you. When you emerge, the old you is gone. The former you has died. You are born again as a new creature in Christ and your sins have been washed away. I am in no way condemning those who have not been baptized. I am simply stating information about baptism according to what scripture says. There is much confusion among Christians regarding whether or not baptism is required for salvation. According to the scriptures we are saved through our "faith" in Jesus, not by being baptized. We should view at baptism as the next step in our christian walk after one has received the gift of salvation. As I mentioned earlier, I would encourage all who have been born again to be baptized, because in doing so you honor God and further your commitment to your new life in Christ.
 Salvation is valuable beyond our ability to measure. When one is saved, they are set free from sin and death.
They have now been transferred from the kingdom of darkness (Satan's kingdom) into the kingdom of light (God's Kingdom).  You can now embark on a wonderful personal relationship with your savior, and commune with God the Father. You are entitled to the rights of the children of God which includes but is not limited to abundant blessings, help in times of trouble, peace regardless of circumstances, joy, healing power, freedom from sin (eternal life), and a place in heaven. Lets take a look at what some scriptures say about the benefits of salvation. 
Many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14 When you are saved, you become aligned with God's eternal plan. Isn't it better to be on track with God rather than in the midst of the world? You are called by God. You are also now free from condemnation. 
John 3:18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God. 
You no longer dwell in darkness but light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. Colossians 1:13 
You will receive the Holy Spirit.  Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8
Jesus has gone away to prepare a place for those who love him. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:3 
 There are blessings waiting for you that you can't comprehend. God is going to bless you beyond imagination.
The former things will have passed away and be made new. That means that there will be no more sickness, sufferings, pride, jealousy, envy, death, or anything negative/evil. Can you imagine how great it will be to walk down the streets of gold, or to dwell in a newly created earth as it were before sin ever came into the picture? Imagine how amazing the earth was before the fall. I'm certain the air was so much cleaner, the plants so much greener and so forth. All things will be made new!
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Revelations 21:1
Can you imagine what it will be like to dwell with God in the New Jerusalem? The book of Revelations describes the absolute splendor and beauty of this new home for God and His people.
The city is laid out as a square; its length as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. Then he measured its wall:one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

Wow! That alone makes me eager to live a life pleasing to God, that I may enjoy the fruits of salvation. I have only highlighted a few for sake of time, though there are many more. Certainly, those who love the Lord have so much to look forward to. Our sufferings for Christ here in this short life, are more than worth it. Look how great the rewards are!
We have reviewed some of the many benefits that come along with salvation, but we must keep in mind the yolk of Christ. We have responsibilities as well. God says that those who love Him follow His commandments. If you want to please God, you must learn to obey Him. You have to be willing to submit yourself to the Lord and forsake worldly (sinful) pleasures to live righteously. 
 If you love Me, keep My commandments. John 14:15
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. 1 Peter 3:12 
As a new creature in Christ it is also important to continue to build your spirit man, and strengthen your relationship with the Lord. You should pray daily to the Lord. Prayer is simply communication (talking) to the Lord. You can pray alone privately, or with other believers. The point is to pray. You should also spend time each day in God's word. Reading without understanding is useless, so do not lean on your own understanding. Instead ask the Lord to let the Holy Spirit guide you in revelation so that you comprehend what you are reading. These are key things to do in order to truly live a fulfilling life in Christ once you have been born again. For a great example of how to live as a Christian read Romans 12:9-21
There is still another very important thing to do once you are born again. That is to spread the good news of Christ to others! You have been blessed and set free, but there are still others who are lost and in need of salvation. The Great Commission is the duty of ALL Christians, not just a select few. 
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20
Now it is your job to help reach others with the message. They need to be saved. Many are searching for answers in the wrong places. They want to be saved and set free, but may not know how. You could be just what they need in order to hear the message of Christ and receive salvation. God says that believers are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. 
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned. It is the good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:13-14
We have covered a great deal in salvation part 2, from the meaning of salvation, the benefits and responsibilities as well. These are all important, but none it matters if you are not saved (born again). You can have all the knowledge in the world, all the degrees from elite universities, hoards of cash, and great material wealth, but none of it will mean a thing if you leave this world without receiving salvation. That, my friend, is the most important thing I can tell you this day. If you are reading this, it is according to God's plan for you. He could be speaking to your spirit, and you know what to do. If you're born again He may be giving this message to you so that you reach others who are lost. Why wait? What is so important in this temporal life that it is worth missing out on eternity with God in endless abundant blessing and joy? If you are hesitating about giving your heart to Christ, I urge you to make today the day. What better day than today to be set free and secure your place in eternity? Everyday people are snatched from this life suddenly and totally unprepared to stand before a perfect, holy God in judgement. Don't be one of those. Suppose you don't pass away before Christ returns. You could still be caught off guard. 
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Matthew 24:36-37
But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and care of this life, and that Day come upon you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. Luke 21:34-36
Make today the day good friend, because we don't know the day or the hour. Waiting around and procrastinating are definitely bad habits, especially when it could affect your eternity and standings with God. I pray that this message has received you well. I pray that the seed of this message has landed in fertile soil and will take root in your heart. 
As always, Truth is Freedom, Knowledge is Power!